Captain Marvel (Marvel Comics)

From Academic Kids

For the DC Comics character, use Captain Marvel (DC Comics).

A number of comic book superheroes by Marvel Comics have been called Captain Marvel.

Created in the hiatus of the original Captain Marvel after Fawcett Comics ceased publication in the 1950s, these comic book characters have been created by Marvel primarily to protect its trademark rights. Marvel's initial use of a "Captain Marvel" character was apparently triggered by a competitor's publication of a short-lived series carrying the title in 1966.



Missing image
Cover to The Death of Captain Marvel. Art by Jim Starlin.

The first of these was an alien military officer, Captain Mar-Vell of the Kree Imperial Militia, who had been sent to observe the planet Earth, which was of great interest to the Empire for its resource potential. Eventually, he realized the intentions of his superiors and rebelled, taking allegiance with Earth while the Kree Empire branded him a traitor. Thence independent, the Captain fought to protect Earth from all menaces. Captain Mar-Vell was created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan in Marvel Super-Heroes #12 (1967).

The character quickly acquired his own title, but its sales were mediocre. The character was revamped by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane. Having been punished with exile in the Negative Zone, the only way Mar-Vell could temporarily leave was to convince a young man, Rick Jones, to wear special metal wristbands called Nega-Bands which allowed the two to switch places for a limited amount of time, not unlike the situation with the original Captain Marvel. The Nega-Bands also allowed Mar-Vell to fly and generate energy. Mar-Vell discarded his Kree military uniform and adopted a more standard superheroic costume of his own.

With the title's sales still middling, Marvel allowed Jim Starlin to conceptually revamp the character, although his appearance was unchanged. Mar-Vell was freed and then became an appointed cosmic champion of space in general, the "Protector of the Universe" appointed by the cosmic entity Eon. Together, Mar-Vell and Rick continued the battle against evil, most notably battling the Death-worshipping Thanos, a mutant member of the Titans of Saturn's moon Titan. Mar-Vell became a close ally of the Titans, and one of their number, Elysius, became his lover. However, this career was cut short because of an earlier incident in which Mar-Vell stopped the villain Nitro from stealing a canister of deadly nerve gas. The canister leaked, and, although Mar-Vell was able to re-seal the container, he had already been exposed to a lethal dose; due to his alien metabolism, he was not killed instantly, but rather contracted incurable cancer. He died from this cancer on Titan in the presence of the Marvel Universe's superhero community, as chronicled in Marvel's first large-format graphic novel, The Death of Captain Marvel.


Missing image
Genis-Vell on the cover to Captain Marvel (volume 4) #24. Art by Chris Cross.

Mar-Vell's successor as the Protector of the Universe is a former SHIELD agent named Wendell Vaughn, who was first called Marvel Boy and is better known as Quasar.

The second Captain Marvel was Monica Rambeau, an African American Coast Guard captain from New Orleans who possesses the power to transform herself into any form of energy. She briefly had her powers altered so that she could not transform, but instead generated a personal force field. She has been a member of the Avengers, at one point having served as their leader. She currently goes by the name Photon.

The third Captain Marvel is Genis-Vell, the genetically-engineered son of Mar-Vell and his lover Elysius, created from the late Mar-Vell's cell samples and artificially aged to physical, if not emotional, maturity. Genis, like his father, wears the Nega-Bands and was, for a time, bonded with Rick Jones. Upon merging with Jones at the conclusion of the Destiny War, the dormant Cosmic Awareness he had inherited from his father was activated, but he was eventually driven mad by the awareness of his failings: no matter who he saved, the act of saving them prevented him from being able to save someone else. Ultimately, he was seduced by the cosmic beings Epiphany and Entropy, the rogue relatives of the universal embodiment called Eternity, and helped them destroy and recreate the universe, throwing the timestream into chaos as a result. Several of Eternity's other siblings eventually restored Genis' mind and the damage that he had caused, separating him from Rick Jones in the process. Genis is currently affiliated with the Thunderbolts and has taken the name Photon.

The most recent Captain Marvel is Phyla-Vell, Genis-Vell's younger twin sister. Her name is a taxonomical pun on the part of Peter David, who created the character. Phyla was created when Genis, an only child, recreated the universe and, in doing so, created various anomalies which resulted in his mother being restored to life and his sister coming into existence. She was last seen romancing Moondragon.

Bibliography of Captain Marvel titles


  • Marvel Super-Heroes (1967) #12-13
  • Captain Marvel (1968) #1-62
  • Giant-Size Captain Marvel (1975) #1 (reprint book)
  • Marvel Spotlight (1979) #1-4
  • Marvel Graphic Novel (1982) #1 (later reprinted in standard comic book format as The Death of Captain Marvel)
  • The Life of Captain Marvel (1985) #1-5 (reprint series)

Monica Rambeau

  • Captain Marvel (1989) #1 (also referred to as Captain Marvel Special)
  • Captain Marvel: Speaking Without Concern #1


  • Captain Marvel (1995) #1-6
  • The Untold Legend of Captain Marvel (1997) #1-3
  • Captain Marvel (2000) #0-36
  • Captain Marvel (2002) #1-25
  • The New Thunderbolts (2004) #1-present

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